By Alan Glynn
FARTHING, Geoffrey Horatio Tungsten. Prime Minister. (1829-1931, created Earl of Crunchie 1907.) Born in London, his father was a cartoonist, his mother the daughter of the 2nd Marquis of Milroy. Educated at St. Scrotum’s School and Vitriol College Oxford. After three unsuccessful attempts to enter parliament Farthing was elected for Leytonstone in 1850. Held junior office under Aberdeen 1852. Met the capricious daughter of the poet Robert Stodge (“O palsied heart, soul’s nightague”), Agnes Penelope, whom he at first found ‘exasperating, nay insufferable.’ Appointed Under Secretary for India in 1854. He was Foreign Secretary in Derby’s 1858 cabinet, during which time he sought tirelessly to alienate the disputants of the international scene with his high-handed policy of ‘constructive intractability.’ It was also during these years that Farthing published his trilogy of political novels, Mrs. Peel, The House on Stratton Street and Closed for Lunch. In 1868 he was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in Disraeli’s short lived cabinet. Farthing’s great parliamentary skill began to show itself during the next years in opposition; his virulent attack on Gladstone’s unpopular Prize-Ring Bill, which sought to impose stricter regulations on bare-knuckle boxing, came late on the fifth evening of debate, after perhaps too much to drink, but was nevertheless remembered, even by those in the government benches, as a towering masterful address. Chancellor of the Exchequer again under Disraeli until 1876. Two years later accompanied Disraeli, Salisbury, the young Balfour and quite a few others to the Congress of Berlin, at which he contracted a serious illness later diagnosed as “nothing a good course of mercury wouldn’t’ve cured” but which very nearly marked an early end to his career. It was after his demanding involvement in the Zulu War of 1879 that Farthing’s health deteriorated to such an extent that he was forced to abandon politics and retire to his country manor Penetralium in a sort of internal exile, regaining his strength, working on innovative engineering projects, formulating his political philosophy in a series of pamphlets (later published together as A Vindication of Opportunism in Public Life and Other Untenable Positions), gardening, painting, poking local talent. Returned to politics in 1885 as Home Secretary in Salisbury’s first ministry. From 1886-90 he was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, where he was greeted with derision and described by The Freeman’s Journal as “short, rotund, remarkably ugly and in his frock-coat and pantaloons something of a distasteful curiosity”, even though, after as short a period as six months, he would be described by Parnell, following secret meetings at Avondale, as “tall, gangly, mildly distinguished but in his dressing-gown of silver and heliotrope just a trifle silly.” He became Colonial Secretary in 1890 and was then appointed Viceroy of India where he indulged a taste for the exotic, supping regularly on apricots, mangoes and prunes drenched in tiger’s milk. His outspoken defence of some ‘boys’ from the Ninth Lancers, charged with the murder of a young virgin-widow from Nagpur, captured the imagination of the British public (and was later to provide the background to Kipling’s short story ‘The Corporal and the Dragon’.) During the opposition years, up to 1894, Farthing’s standing within the Conservative Party greatly increased and in Salisbury’s last ministry he became, in succession, Leader of the Commons, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lord Privy Seal and First Lord of the Admiralty. Farthing succeeded as Prime Minister in 1898 when Salisbury became gravely ill and resigned. As Prime Minister Farthing was widely popular though for no apparent reason, and after some months in office Queen Victoria noted in her journal, “I find the Present Man not without charm, but must he really wear those dreadful cerise foxgloves and quote Catullus at me?” The Boer War dominated Farthing’s first ministry and his increasing inability to deal civilly with Chamberlain or with any of the members of his cabinet, with Kitchener or indeed, it was noticed, with Agnes Penelope, led commentators to surmise that he was mentally unbalanced, “Sir Edmund Penney, Leader of the Liberal Party,” being, in the words of the Manchester Guardian, “worth four of Geoffrey Farthing.” However, Kitchener’s bold policy of setting up concentration camps (which prompted Farthing’s much-publicised remark, “Why didn’t I think of that?”), to isolate Boer sympathisers, led to a decisive victory for Britain. A general election followed and holding the day Farthing formed the next government, his reshuffled cabinet now including Charles, his brother, at the Admiralty, his cousin Sir Ruthven Marchbank (who was later poisoned accidently at the Aetheneum by a colleague) at the Foreign office, the Chief Secretaryship going to his son-in-law Dain O’Maroola and a more general tide of posts working its way out through the swelling vines to what Farthing called “the family’s forgotten tendrils.” The deficiencies exposed by the South African War and the report, in 1903, of the Blennerhasset-Le Strade Commission led to major shake-ups at the Imperial Office and the Admiralty. Convinced that naval superiority was the key to effective imperial defence, Farthing gained the support of King Edward in his creation of a new mega-vessel, the Impressive. Swifter and better armed than any previous iron-clad HMS Impressive was supported by a new and efficient cruiser HMS Not Inconsiderable. On the question of tariff reform and taxation Farthing found himself embroiled in endless disagreements. “I must confess,” he wrote to Churchill, “to a complete lack of interest in all this domestic lark. I much prefer a good international crisis.” Despite this, however, Farthing was forced to endorse North’s removal of the rum duty in the 1904 budget, as he feared the effect of the opposition’s ‘gin tax’ clamour on recent by-election results. In 1905 Farthing’s was not a united party. He hinted in a speech at Liverpool in September that he was preparing to go before the country; privately, however, Farthing is known to have been resentful of the threat posed to his government by the poor and the unemployed. With the Liberal landslide of 1906 many expected Farthing to retire from politics, but he remained as Leader of the Opposition for five years and was elected Prime Minister again in 1911; his government fell in November, however, after only three months, and almost before anyone had noticed he was back he was gone again, and Asquith was swiftly returned to power. The years ahead were to be cluttered ones for Farthing. He became chancellor of a score of universities, Lord Rector of Vitriol College and Grand Master of the Dandelion League. In 1914, boarding the boat-train from Victoria to Dover, starting out on his first visit to India in twenty years, Farthing received a telegram from Kitchener, “…grave situation…anxious you should not get beyond reach of personal consultation…” For the duration of the war Penetralium became a sort of unofficial HQ, with a constant stream of traffic from Whitehall and the War Office. In 1923 Farthing won the Nobel Prize for Literature; the Academy cited his historical works in general and in particular his monumental biography of Sir Clarence Wryly, the fifteenth-century thinker and libertine. The five-volume Life of Wryly was later withdrawn from publication amid charges of plagiarism and contested authorship. In 1927 Agnes Penelope was in killed in a motoring accident, giving the 98-year old Farthing what he later described to King George as “a new lease of life.” Quite a dashing figure in the London season of 1928 Farthing talked of accompanying Mr. Noel Coward on a trip to Hollywood, California. Collapsed and died, 1931, while setting shrew-traps somewhere down along by the orchard walls, in the gardens and estates, the rolling downs, of stately Penetralium.
POLINA, (Fedor Prokhorovich Luzhin) (183?-1919). Classical tragedienne and goddess of the silent screen. The early days of this legendary figure are shrouded in mystery and uncertainty. Born Fedor Luzhin into a Gypsy family of circus and fairground performers “somewhere in Russia, I think,” she would later write, “all those villages and towns and provinces, to recite their names was a very drug to me…Khaborovsk, Kirov, Kishniev, Kalingrad…who could say where I was born?” What is most curious is the fact that Polina is said to have been born male and to have remained so for at least her first twenty years; this is confirmed by family accounts and press reports of her boyhood feats from dozens of provincial sources. It was not until just before her emergence on the St. Petersburg stage, in the late fifties, that she appears to have undergone any kind of “operation”. By the age of five Polina/Fedor was already an amazing acrobat and juggler. As he grew older he developed new skills and in 1849 was being billed: Fedor the Terrible – Fire-eater, Swordswallower, Palmist. Little is known of the next years but there is some suggestion that in 1858, demoralised, rejected in love or addicted to alcohol, Fedor tried several times to commit suicide. He attempted to reform himself but after three unsuccessful auditions at the Winter Theatre, St. Petersburg, he started drinking heavily again. The pernicious control of the roulette tables and his dark association with Lev Nesterov, a dissolute civil servant, began more and more to cloud Fedor’s life, eroding his talents and amassing for him debts of some 50,000 roubles. In April of 1858, however, Lev Nesterov was deliberately implicated in seditious activities and sentenced to fourteen years hard labour in Siberia – and Fedor suddenly disappeared. The only contemporary source to indicate that Polina, the young girl with flushed cheeks and golden lovelocks who made her debut in September in the Winter Theatre, in the role of Cordelia, under the patronage of the fabulously wealthy and mysterious Prince Vasil’yevsky, might, in fact, have been Fedor Luzhin, miraculously transfigured from the dissipated youth of the gambling tables of five months before, was the critic Andrei Pudovkhin, who recorded in his journal, “I would not have thought it possible, but in behind the ghostly seraphic folds of rosecoloured silk, deep in her peerless eyes, I know I am looking at that robust youth of the Moscow fairgrounds: Fedor the Terrible.” In the wake of the critical acclaim which followed her next performances, as Ophelia, Desdemona and Miranda, speculation about Polina’s past came to be regarded as “apocryphal nonsense.” For the next ten years she was the most popular actress on the St. Petersburg stage and even performed before the Czar, Alexander II, who called her, according to Pudovkhin, “his mother.” In 1868, to the utter astonishment of the jealous Prince Vasil’yevsky, Polina became pregnant by Piotr D, editor of the monthly Sedition; Vasil’yevsky at once challenged the young nihilist to a duel and two mornings later was shot dead by him. To the utter consternation of his family, Vasil’yevsky died penniless, having spent all of his fortune on Polina. They re-routed the fleeing D to Siberia and swore vengeance on the pregnant young widow. Polina discreetly left St. Petersburg “for the period of her confinement”; she would never return. After several months of aimless wandering during which she had an unfortunate miscarriage in Baden-Baden, Polina turned up penniless in Paris. As she roamed through the elegant boulevards of the emerging Second Empire, past the triumphal arches and railway stations, the magnificent emporiums and hotels, she determined to repeat the success of her St. Petersburg days and vowed never to want for anything again. Through the patronage of Suez investor, Alphonse Voleur, she was able to obtain an engagement at the Odeon and made her debut there in 1869 in Moliere’s La Plume de ma Tante. Polina made little impression on the Paris critics, one of whom, the formidable Claud Sarcastique, remarked: “As for Polina, delightful though she may be, I would suggest that she might better have been cast as the retired customs officer who leaves for Switzerland at the end of Act I.” A succession of unsuitable roles led Polina, in desperation, to “approach” Emile Derriere, then secretary of the Beaux Arts, who “introduced” her to Jacques Mamelle, manager of the Comedie Francaise. Entranced, Mamelle at once offered her the title role in Racine’s Gargamelle. Polina’s debut at the Comedie was an unqualified triumph, unleashing on Paris after her long personal struggle the full range of her heavenly graces, her astonishing wardrobe (and quickchange artistry) and her staggering appetite for applause and adulation. All through the seventies this paragon of beauty was the idol of students, the model for duchesses and courtesans and the darling of officers and stockbrokers. Her sumptuous apartments in the Medelaine were a palace of onyx and alabaster, exotic flowers everywhere, their buds swollen purple with narcotic aroma, and in this true salon of the nineteenth century, wearing a satin tunic which revealed bare legs below the knees, Polina entertained royalty, artists, cabinet ministers and an inner circle of necromancers, occultists, diabolists and Roman Catholic priests. Fighting off innumerable proposals of marriage from, among others, Flaubert, Gautier, Dumas (pere and fils), Polina remained fiercely independent and became for her generation a tantalising symbol of the unattainable. She toured Europe, taking with her to two dozen cities a spectacular repertoire of her most celebrated roles. She conquered London in 1881, was mobbed through the streets, courted by the Prince of Wales and lampooned in a Punch cartoon which showed her wielding a cat-o-nine tails to the bared bottoms of the crowned heads of Europe and saying, “Which way is up, boys?” In 1885 she toured America where in one city she received fifty-seven curtain calls and was applauded for a record four and a half hours, some two hours longer than the performance itself. It was during the next years that Polina became increasingly worried about her ‘looks’. She was in her early fifties and was remarkably well-preserved but she nevertheless felt that the poetic gestures of youth were turning into the buffoonery of middle age. In 1889, defaulting on her contract which involved a season in Paris, she retired from the stage and descended into a private world with new boyfriend morphine-addict Baron Franz Ulrich von Fruhstuck. However Polina’s stormy retirement only lasted five years. During this time, and with the Baron’s money, she set about procuring the most expensive oils and milks obtainable on earth, but it was not until her frequent trips to London in the summer of ’91 and during time spent in certain society, asserts the intrepid Pudovkhin, that she may have discovered the possibility of a more lasting and mysterious preservative. Smoking innumerable cigarettes she sat for fashionable young painters and artists, and could barely conceal what was her ‘plan’ to immortalise herself after the manner of Mr. Wilde’s young hero, “with the difference,” Pudovkhin speculates, “that her portrait would bear the burden of no sins, only of her sublimity.” It was a year later, when Polina met Aubrey Beardsly in Paris that this possibility seems in some way to have been realised. She had had perhaps a dozen portraits done of her, none of them showing any signs of aging or of being in the remotest bit animated by the movements of her soul, but when Beardsly did a simple line drawing one afternoon in her apartments, as an idea for a poster, Polina felt the years draining out of her, a change seemed to come over the climate of her skin, a moisturising. The actress at once seized the white page on whose surface, along the finest threads of black ink, she was clearly delineated, and declared that she would destroy all other portraits of her as fakes and return to the stage immediately. The drawing was not seen again. Beardsly denied or forgot that the incident ever took place and is known to have been instigating charges of harassment against Pudovkhin just before he died. Nevertheless, three months after the alleged incident of the line drawing, Polina made a spectacular comeback in the role of Margery Pinchwife, “looking,” according to The Times, “younger than ever.” She starred as the pious village girl who becomes Vlad the Impaler’s child-bride in George Bernard Shaw’s The Impaler’s Proposal, and she even played Jack Worthing (en travesti) in The Importance of Being Earnest. A new world tour followed; she and her exhausted company performed all over the globe and in a German interview Polina was audacious enough to promise that she’d be performing on the moon by 1919. From Bombay to Sao Paolo her name cast a magic spell and even Joseph Conrad wrote: “I have just come from the theatre. Look, she is a river of gold, she will absorb and tinge your dreams with gold. I think I am mad.” In 1901, looking young enough to be his granddaughter even though she was actually eight years his senior, Polina finally married Baron von Fruhstuck; twelve hundred guests thronged the Grand Hotel on the Boulevard Haussmann for the reception, later at which, tragically, the Baron choked on a cream pastry, fell unconscious, could not be revived and “ruined the evening,” according to Le Figaro the next morning, “for everyone else.” The baron’s funeral was to be Polina’s last public appearance for ten years. In 1911 she was coaxed out of retirement by Italian film director Umberto Cazzo and starred in his epic Amo, Amas, Amat (1912), the story of the daughter of a noble Roman family who is abducted by “a bunch of drunks from Carthage” and sacrificed to one of their nefarious gods. Lured to Hollywood Queen of Arabia (1913) and Nights of Babylon (1914) followed, gaining for Polina wider audiences than she had ever known before, her face now sprouting up uncontrollably on the world’s streetcorners, billboards, newsstands, gazing out inscrutably from magazine racks – and back into these windows on the world millions peered longingly at the face that had what the fashion sheets were soon calling “a certain look.” After the war Polina began a tour of the United States in a spectacular new production of King Lear. It was ironic that her debut in St. Petersburg sixty-one years before had been in the role of Cordelia and that now, in what was to prove her last performance, she would be taking the title role in the same play. On the opening night in New York, in late June, 1919, as Lear drew his last breath, so too did Polina. In fact it was not until some minutes after she had been carried offstage that anyone noticed she was dead. Pudovkhin, who by now had insinuated his way into her personal secretarytship, was in her dressing room at the time (“poking about her lingerie collection,” according to one stage-hand) when suddenly from behind a padded silken recess there glided out a yellowed sheet of paper on which there was the most intricate labyrinthine ink drawing, strokes covering the page almost to blackness, some even seeming to dangle superabundantly off the edge. Pudovkhin watched as all at an instant the lines on the page began to quiver, seize up – (“like something out of the valley of the dry bones,” he would afterwards write, “in Ezekiel”) – and shrink to the minimal but unmistakable sketch of his mistress executed so casually one afternoon some thirty years before. Polina’s body was immediately shipped to Paris and in an address to the nation the normally imperturbable Clemenceau faltered and was unable to continue with his speech for some minutes. At the funeral five people were crushed to death when barriers broke and crowds mobbed forward to catch a final glimpse of their idol. Polina was buried in a rose-wood coffin lined with satin and strewn with white lilac, violets and an estimated fifty thousand forget-me-nots.
SPAULDING, Henry Averill (1858-1960), President of the United States. Born in Tarrytown, New York, to railway and steamboat magnate Nathaniel O. Spaulding and Arabella Stringham, daughter of dry goods tycoon, Cyrus T. Stringham. During the Civil War, as Spaulding and Stringham giddily observed the rapid expansion of mercantile enterprise from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Arabella and her young son travelled extensively in Europe and Henry Averill was presented to Queen Victoria, Napoleon III, Pope Pius IX (“Pio Nono”) and others. Educated at Wagstaff College; graduated in law, 1875. While at Wagstaff Henry excelled at sport, debating and what he later described in his monumental eight-volume autobiography The Years Go By as “drinking.” In his last year at Wagstaff Henry captained the winning crew at the intercollegiate regatta and published some poetry in the college literary journal The Body Electric, including the prophetic:
I am the discorrupted soul of the America
I am the chemist and the voluptuary
I am not a nut – elect me!
Henry’s diverse and spirited nature was soon to cause a devastating rift between father and son. Nathaniel Spaulding wanted a ‘first lieutenant’ in young Henry, someone to deal with the swelling ranks of financiers, lawyers and bureaucrats in his burgeoning industrial empire. Instead Henry wanted “to slap the face of swarthy Heaven”, to be an Apollo of the Republic, drinking in science, history, politics, economics, brandy. After a series of violent rows Spaulding pere angrily wrote Henry out of his will, shifting hope and backing to his second son, Oliver Norville Spaulding (ONS proved an unfortunate heir; in 1883 he was swindled out of a personal fortune by a group of greenback reactionaries; he was cuckolded by Senator A. A. Cockmore, whom he had just bankrolled into the GOP and by the Rev. Dr. Ruggles Rushmore, author of Divine Infidelity; in April 1924, on leaving the home of a leading midwest KKK activist, ONS was set upon and lynched by a mob of negroes). Disinherited, Spaulding travelled for some years working in railyards and stockyards. Then, as frontiersman, coach-driver, ranch-hand, outlaw (as “Lord” Spaulding he led the McCaw Brothers in a series of reckless bank and train robberies up and down Missouri), livestock trader and prosperous homesteader with family, wife Judith, sons Nebuchadnezzar and Obadiah, and daughter Vanessa, Spaulding passed his mid-twenties giving little thought to politics or public life. In 1885 he returned from a provisions run to Abilene to find his entire family murdered and his homestead destroyed, only some pages from the Bible and a piece of Judith’s patchwork quilt identifiable in the burnt wreckage. Returned east to pursue an academic career specialising in state and constitution law. Growing restless, in 1887, he and Elwood Thayer bought out the weekly Carbon County Union Register newspaper and started cranking it out daily on a second-hand Fairhaven press, renamed The Meteor, and proclaiming: “If Carbon County has not had a major daily newspaper before, it sure has one now.” Starting out with cribbed national stories, local tidbits, cancer cures and beard elixirs, The Meteor was soon responsible for exposing the Carbon County Bank Scandal and its coverage of the election the following year turned it into a staunchly Democratic paper; Cleveland’s defeat disappointed Spaulding but awakened his own political ambitions. He bought out The Orbit, The Herald Gazette and other papers, formed business alliances, editorialised – Thus far have we tolerated third-raters, poltroons and so-called reformers in public office, but a new era of leadership for this state will soon dawn – ‘n remember that you read it in The Herald Gazette – building what he called “the Spaulding machine”, so that on July 7th, 1889, a week before the Democratic Carbon County Convention, he announced in The Meteor that he would be going forward as a candidate for the Democratic nomination for state senator in the forthcoming election. Securing the nomination Spaulding defeated opponent J. Hollis Driftwood and carried Carbon County by a margin of 12,988 votes and then easily the state. Active in state political affairs for the next eight years, Spaulding was also active as counsel for steel and railroad companies, public utilities, a tobacco trust and half a dozen other corporations, “conflict of interest,” he would later write, “never seeming too great an obstacle in the face of growing personal wealth.” Fired to national prominence as corrupt “Boss” Spaulding of New York’s Tammany Hall, when he remarked at a civic banquet that indeed it was probably true that America was divided into tramps and millionaires but that for his part he was sure glad he was a millionaire. Served in London (where he met his second wife, the beautiful Winifred Morel-Qualme, daughter of the renowned surgeon-philosopher Sir Aldous Morel-Qualme) as a mediator in the near conflict which arose over the Anglo-Venezuelan border dispute; Chairman to the House Committee on audits and disbursements; attache to the American legation at Costaguana; Attorney General in charge of investigation into immigration policy; author of bestseller Magnificent Opprobrium: A Life of Ruggles Rushmore. 1900, unsuccessful candidate for vice-presidential nomination at the convention (“Guess he was too light,” remarked syndicated columnist Roscoe J. Beefheart, “on tariffs and fiscal policy”). In 1904, allegiance shifting “more than somewhat”, elected Republican Governor of New York. Secretary of War under Roosevelt. Spaulding and TR did not have cordial relations and Spaulding later claimed that it had originally been his idea to send warships to Panama in order to gain control of the canal and that furthermore he had effectively diffused the Moroccan crisis of 1905 “more or less singlehandedly” – but that “Oh no…old bossyboots himself had to take all the credit.” In 1908 elected vice-president under Taft, espoused the doctrine of “untrammelled profiteering” and fought tirelessly to repress the menace of socialism, dismissing strikers, child-labour reformers, free-speechers and union organisers as “perverts and killjoys.” During Wilson’s administration Spaulding opposed the Hicks anti-trust bill of September 1913; he travelled to dusty Hollywood, California, to visit his daughter, Gina Dumont, who was starring in D. W. Griffith’s seminal epic Nora of Egypt (1914), whistle-stopping his way over 4,000 miles, through sixteen states, coining the soon popular phrase “shovel all the coal in” and greatly enhancing his appeal as a prominent national figure. In 1916, after a fierce campaign, Spaulding was elected President, throwing him straight into the centre of world affairs. “The plunge of civilization into bloody and terrible war is a dreadful thing,” he wrote to Henry Ford in 1917, “on the other hand two billion dollars worth of war orders sold to the Allies is a wonderful thing.” At home, severe pressure from the Anti-Saloon League, the Methodists, the Astors, the nation’s gin distillers, motion picture producers, university professors, Rotary clubbers and tax-payers made it an exacting and demanding term of office. President Spaulding’s management of the war in Europe took him to Paris in 1919 where he, Clemenceau and Lloyd George sought to “unmess the peoples of this hemisphere.” Four months after he returned to America, however, while addressing a federal armaments conference, President Spaulding was assassinated by Cecil Edgar Arbuckle, a ‘dry anarchist’ from Little Rock, Ark. The nation was shattered, and in the two years following his assassination Spaulding eschewed public life and became almost a total recluse. He wrote The Astronomical Academy, a speculative study in occult power structures and delved into poetry and mysticism, corresponding with his wife’s friend W. Butler Yeats. In 1922 Spaulding sailed for Europe to retrace the grand tour of his childhood; “somehow through the years,” he told reporters, “I could always picture Pio Nono smiling down at me.” His support for Coolidge at the 1924 Republican Convention re-established Spaulding as a formidable political presence. In 1927 he joined the Advisory Council of the National Broadcasting Corporation, and the following year, broadcasting himself (into an estimated eight million homes), was elected to the White House for a second time, on the popular slogan “Hooray for President Spaulding!” Within a few months of taking office the financial system of the world collapsed, leading to unprecedented depression and poverty. Spaulding wrote to ‘Butch’ Adams (of the family’s unsung fifth generation): “We have come, abruptly, to the end of the Gilded Age and immoral and exploitive as I’m sure it might have seemed at the time, I for my part am going to miss it.” In 1932 Spaulding the businessman was defeated by FDR and the topdogs of the New Deal. HAS withdrew effectively from politics but remained active for many years in political life as elder statesman, international business monolith and as a kind of ambassador extraordinaire of the United States, carrying on his tours to Europe (1934), Africa (1935-6) and the Far East (1937-8) the stickshaking confidence of one hundred per cent Americanism. In 1942 Spaulding published the first four volumes of The Years Go By, the second four coming out over a decade later in 1953. Belligerent criticism of the administration and a sharp tongue characterised Spaulding’s last decade. On Ed Murrow’s live CBS TV news-show See It Now the nonagenarian Spaulding described Vice-President Dick Nixon as “an obnoxious little bastard.” In 1958 he addressed a national symposium in Washington organised to celebrate the centenary of his own birth. Lived last days in California experimenting with LSD, peyote, jimson weed, reading Huxley, Watts. Died, after a brief illness, in September 1960.